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Architects: Neri&Hu

Location: Hainan, China

Area: 83.000 m2

Year: 2022
Partners-in-charge: Lyndon Neri, Rossana Hu
Associate Director in-charge (Architecture): Ziyi Cao
Associate (Architecture project manager): Fong Win Huang
Associate-in-charge (Interior): Sanif Xu

Design Team: Federico Saralvo, Chris Chen, Chaofu Yeh, Danyan Jin, Rashi Jain, Lina Lee, Fergus Davis, Sela Lim, Jinlong Li, Shiqi Zhang, Dakyung Hwang, Valentina Brunetti, Kim-Lou Monnier, Heather Zhang, Guanlin Lee, Vanessa Wu, Lisa Kong, Cheri Lee, Ashley Kehan Shen, Mengyang Wang, Nianshan Zhang, Gloria Guo, Kevin Gao, Callum Holgate, Haiming Wang, Jean Jiao, Ji Chao, Jerry Kuo, Echo Li, Yoki Yu, Amber Shi, Zhikang Wang, Matthew Sung, Nicolas Fardet, Junho Jeon, Sheng Yin, Haiou Xin, July Huang, Lyuqitiao Wang

Architecture design: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
Interior design: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
Product design: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

Local Design Institute (architecture): Beijing Institute of Architectural Design Co., LTD
Local Design Institute (interior): Beijing Libeiya Architectural Decoration Engineering Co., LTD
Façade: Schmidlin Shanghai Co., LTD
Lighting: J+B Studios Architectural Lighting Design (Beijing) Co., LTD
Landscape: L&A Design (concept design), Arktree Landscape Design Co., LTD. (design development)
Signage: Corlette Design (Shanghai) Co., LTD

General Contractor (construction): China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp., LTD
General Contractor (interior): Shenzhen Cheng Chung Design Co., LTD. (public area), Shenzhen Grandland Group Co., LTD. (guest room), Zhejiang Yasha Decoration Engineering Co., LTD. (guest room)
Façade (bamboo): Dasso (public area), Seamboo (guest room), BMF Material (guest room)
Façade (clay bricks): Yixing Hete Technology (ceramics) Co., LTD

Sanya Wellness Retreat

The Sanya Wellness Retreat is located in Haitang bay on Hainan Island, a popular resort destination in China. Neri&Hu’s design is inspired by ancient Chinese walled cities; elevated on a heavy plinth, they are usually surrounded by water for protection. The hotel is defined by two parts: the wooden dwelling comprising the guest rooms and a masonry base that contains all the public spaces below.

Two L-shaped building volumes come together to form a water courtyard, the central feature from which all the hotel’s public amenities emanate outwards. The lobby becomes a garden landscape with a floating lantern hovering above it, allowing a gentle light to filter in; with the soft breezes flowing through, guests are immediately put into a relaxed state of mind to appreciate the slow pace of island life. The ceilings are lowered to frame views outward to the azure seas beyond.

At every given opportunity, the design aims to embody the genius loci of Hainan, to blend elements from the island’s collective memory, culture and natural features. Tapping into local craftsmanship, the walls surrounding the lower levels are clad with handmade clay bricks, while the fabrics and rugs are inspired by the textile arts of the Li minority tribe. The technique of soaking and pressing bamboo is also employed in the construction, with woven rattan and yellow bronze accents to enhance the different layers of the project.

As for the guest rooms, each unit is conceived as an individual wooden hut that contains functional amenities such as washrooms. The sleeping and relaxing areas, including ocean view balconies are nestled into the negative space between the wooden boxes. The alternating rhythm between solid and void, the angled walls, and the textured material expression all contribute to a dynamic façade that is constantly playing with light and shadow. The corridor between the bedroom units becomes an urban streetscape, an alley where people can stroll and enjoy chance encounters – such are the delights of being a traveler.

Architects: Neri&Hu

Location: Hainan, China

Area: 83.000 m2

Year: 2022

urbanNext (June 18, 2024) Sanya Wellness Retreat. Retrieved from
Sanya Wellness Retreat.” urbanNext – June 18, 2024,
urbanNext November 9, 2023 Sanya Wellness Retreat., viewed June 18, 2024,<>
urbanNext – Sanya Wellness Retreat. [Internet]. [Accessed June 18, 2024]. Available from:
Sanya Wellness Retreat.” urbanNext – Accessed June 18, 2024.
Sanya Wellness Retreat.” urbanNext [Online]. Available: [Accessed: June 18, 2024]

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